So far in 2013, we have discussed what will be important in social media for your agency – including the importance of social search.
One thing that will stay consistent about customer service and your agency, whether on the phone or when using social media, is that the client will always come first. Social media platforms have changed the way we not only interact with clients, but also promote our businesses. Connecting with your clients on your agency’s social media sites has always been important for customer service opportunities, networking, and staying in the forefront of their mind. Now, being connected with your clients on social media will become even more important as networks add ways for you to increase client contact and gain referrals.
Google Plus Circles
Besides the fact that Google has announced its Google Plus platform as a social media site, many Internet marketers are promoting the site as a social search tool. What does this mean? It means being able to connect with clients and prospects on the network will increase your chances of them finding your website first when they are searching for insurance. How can you ensure this happens? Send an email campaign out asking your current client base to add your agency to their Google Plus circles. You can also do a search for their names and/or emails on the site to add them.
Facebook Graph Search
Many of you might be reading this section header and saying “huh?” Facebook announced this year they added a search function to the Facebook site. This search function allows users to search for products and services in their area based on what their friends like. This is going to be HUGE in terms of referrals. How great would it be if many of your clients LIKED your agency’s Facebook page, ensuring that your agency would pop up first if their friends were using Facebook to look for insurance recommendations? Another great thing about this tool is Facebook is going to give priority to location. This means if you are a local agency, your page is more likely to appear before large direct writer pages if the person searching lives nearby. This does not mean you need to use Facebook less, but make sure your agency page is consistently being updated with relevant information.
“More companies are discovering that an über-connected workplace is not just about implementing a new set of tools — it is also about embracing a cultural shift to create an open environment where employees are encouraged to share, innovate and collaborate virtually.”
– Karie Willyerd & Jeanne C. Meister, HarvardBusiness.org
Culture change is something that must occur first in order for your agency to understand that change is forever part of the process of growing the overall business.
When it comes to social media, getting everyone at the agency to buy in can be difficult for some. Here are some ways to get your entire agency excited about helping out with social media and contributing to agency efforts:
1) Have employees contribute during weekly meetings. Have all agency staff bring social media and blogging ideas to the weekly meetings. Require them to have at least one social media posting idea and one blog post idea, plus references. This way the agency blogger has multiple ideas to look through. The ideas can even be insurance related topics the CSR’s or Producers are seeing in relation to the current season.
2) Start an office competition. See which employee can get the most customers to LIKE your agency Facebook page, or share your agency page with their friends and family. Track the results on a large white board where everyone can see it. This way everyone will be reminded of the results.
3) Allow employees to create agency Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. This way, the agency staff can promote and share agency blog posts, connect with clients, and even search for prospects and new business.
It all starts with explaining the changes that the agency will be going through. When it comes to social media, the best way to get started is to offer training from an insurance marketing professional. After the agency staff is trained, the next step is the implement a plan!
Hopefully everyone had a great holiday and a happy New Year! 2012 was a year of many changes especially in the realm of Internet Marketing. There are a few updates, changes, and new strategies that we wanted to recap for you, to make sure your agency is aware of the big social media happenings in 2012, along with provide you with some insight into what will happen in 2013.
The Importance of Images
During the past year, the rise of image centric networks along with image sharing has grown. Sites such as Pinterest have become increasingly popular, with the recent creation of business pages and more companies using the site to showcase images from their blog, show their products, and increase traffic to their site. The network Instagram, which was bought by Facebook for a staggering $1 billion, is also increasing in usage, as brands are using photos to share their story, events, and showcase their products. On Facebook especially, the sharing of images has increased as they have become more prominently displayed in newsfeeds, and the engagement statistics are up to 50% higher. Not only do images make blog posts more likely to be read, but they allow for further social engagement, as we all become more visual.
Social’s Impact on Search
The SEO of your insurance agency’s website used to be mainly focused on keywords used in the content, longevity of your domain, number of pages, and more. These factors are still significant, but social media is becoming an increasingly important factor in a site’s rank and traffic. We have seen evidence in the past year that factors such as social media shares and likes on Facebook could increase a site’s rank. And ultimately we know that having traffic coming from all of your social media sites on a consistent basis is what is going to be best for your SEO.
How do you measure social media? What is the ROI? Questions that we have all asked and heard in the past finally had answers in 2012. With implementation of social tools into Google Analytics, third party applications such as Hootsuite, and the updating of Facebook Insights, measuring social traction has become possible. The importance of tracking numbers, such as Facebook LIKES and Twitter followers, are no longer the deciding factors. During 2012, we saw things such as WHO are your Facebook LIKES, how are they engaging, and how often are Twitter followers visiting your site and converting, becoming more relevant in determining social media success.
Many agents across the country say that they have LinkedIn profiles that they use to accept connections from those who request them, and possibly check into prospects. LinkedIn has been updating how a user can interact with their company page. Company pages on LinkedIn now allow user updates, a cover photo, the sharing of attachments and images, and the ability to feature a group that the company might admin or feel is important to their business. So why is this good news? Now that you can interact more with LinkedIn company pages, you can have another place to share blog posts, insurance articles, news and pieces of advice. You can also add the products your agency offers and get specific recommendations under each section. This will help increase the traffic to your insurance website, and LinkedIn is a great referral website.
Facebook’s Social Search
Facebook announced this month that they will be introducing the social graph search. This will allow users to search their Facebook content and search for recommendations and answers based on their friends’ likes and hobbies. What do you think social search will mean for local business?
This year will bring many changes in social media, how people search, what they search, and how local businesses and your agency are affected. Be sure to follow Insurance Marketing HQ and the Astonish Facebook Page for updates!
Have yet to sign up for the E-Agent Summit? We have gathered 10 reasons why this is an event not to be missed. Who should attend? Astonish welcomes agents, producers, agency principals, bloggers, and more to attend the 4th annual summit this year in Orlando, Florida. Here are 10 reasons you should join us on October 28-30th at the Bonnet Creek Resort:
When you aren’t attending the keynote or breakout sessions, you can network with other agency principals, CSR’s, Marketing Managers, and more! The summit is a great opportunity to meet other agency personnel, marketing experts, and industry veterans to share knowledge, ask questions, and participate in conversation.
The list of speakers keeps growing. Besides the ALL NEW keynote address by our own Adam DeGraide and Tim Sawyer, some of the speakers featured are Dr. William T. Hold, of the National Alliance, Dennis Chookaszian, Chairman of FASAC, Don Phin, President of HR that Works, and Eric Jansen of FS Marketing Solutions. Come listen and learn from the best in the industry on a diverse group of topics. New speakers being added daily.
3. Social Media
Not sure how to use social media at your agency quite yet? Or maybe you already use social media but want to take it to the next level. This year, we have added specific social media courses that include not only Astonish’s best practices, but insight from agency leaders and bloggers on how they use different social platforms to grow their business.
4. Industry Experts
All of the speakers are experts in their given industry. Learn how to round out policies from the top insurance trainers in the nation, how to grow your business online from consulting executives, how to hire employees from HR professionals, and of course how to FIND, SELL, and KEEP customers and grow your business from those who have done so.
Does this point even need explaining? This year’s summit is at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida. Not only does the hotel have direct complimentary transportation to Disney World for your family that joins the trip, it is located only 30 minutes from Orlando International Airport, and within miles of the area’s top attractions! Did we mention all summit guests receive a 10% discount at the hotel spa?
6. Breakout sessions
If you attended last year’s summit in Las Vegas, you remember the many breakout sessions Astonish had on topics from sales to Facebook. We took your feedback and this year, we have added even MORE sessions for you to attend. Check out the agenda to see what sessions are being added daily!
7. Speak to those who have been there
The E-Agent Summit is an opportunity for you to meet other agents who have been in your position. Ask them how they grew their agency, how they got employee buy in, and how they utilized the Astonish system to change their businesses and their lives! See some of the 2011 E-Agent testimonials.
8. Find Solutions
Each sponsor of this year’s summit has something to offer you. Whether it is a digital marketing system, educational classes, online subscriptions, or an HR program, many of this year’s vendors are happy to discuss how they can help your agency. Not sure what the next step is? We can help! Astonish representatives will be onsite to direct you to the right person to discuss the solution you may need.
9. Golf Tournament
Love to Golf? We have added to the agenda a summit only golf tournament at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club on Tuesday October 20th starting at 1:00 PM. Bring your clubs or rent them there, but if you are a golf lover, this is not an event to miss!
10. Have fun!
What is the second best part of conferences besides taking away amazing information? Having a good time with other industry professionals! While at the E-Agent Summit be sure to check out the on location spa, go swimming in their 3-acre Florida-style lazy pool, have the family go to Disney World, or join us on Day 2 for a dinner reception with entertainment provided by ARANDA!
Be sure to sign up today for the 2012 E-Agent Summit. Sign up before the end of August to receive a 25% discount when purchasing two or more tickets. Questions? Shoot us an email or give us a call at 888.577.7691. See you in October!
If press release distribution is part of your Internet Marketing strategy, you’re on the right track with your insurance marketing strategies. However, you may wonder how valuable these optimized releases are when you take a look at your news release summary reports. Was the release picked up by relevant news outlets? Have you received any media inquiries? If the answers to these questions are “yes,” great! But you can do better.
Image Courtesy of SocialMediaMagic.com
Taking a holistic approach with your internet marketing strategy by interweaving your press release content within your blogs and social media updates can really boost your results. Consider this recent story published on one of Mediabistro.com’s blogs. The #CancersNoJoke campaign from @AbolishCancer, which focused on raising awareness for the need for bone marrow donors across the U.S., ran for one week on Twitter. After spending just $200 on creating a press release, the team behind the campaign was able to gain 22 million unique impressions by spreading the word on the social media site. So, what does this mean for you?
If you want to make the most of your press releases, don’t forget to share them on your blog and social media pages. Create a hashtag on Twitter so that you and your followers can spread the word about your press release content more effectively, and so you’ll be able to easily track how many people are talking about your release on the social platform. While it’s important to engage in press release distribution, social media and blogging, don’t do each of these separately; use all three combined to reach more potential customers. Even if your business needs a little social networking training before you get started, it will certainly pay off in the results!